Polk Student Goes From Art Camper to Major Contest Winner

A long-time student of the Polk Museum of Art’s Summer Art Camp and Spring Break Art Camp recently won a poster contest sponsored by Bank of Central Florida to promote The BIG Event.

Taylor Haynes, 14, went “a little ballistic” when she learned last month that she had won. She even cried.

“I’ve never won a major contest like this,” Taylor said. “I’m excited about the publicity, and I’m very honored.”

The Bank of Central Florida announced the winner Oct. 21. She will receive her $350 cash award on Saturday, Nov. 12 at The BIG Event. Her artwork has been printed, signed, and numbered and will be available for sale that night.

“We are encouraged by the number, and quality, of submissions,” said Paul Noris, President and CEO of the Bank of Central Florida upon announcing the winner. “It was difficult to just pick one. But Ms. Haynes’ piece really stood out.”

The BIG Event is a celebration of Lakeland. This free, family-oriented event is held at the Frances Langford Promenade at Lake Mirror after the Red Ribbon Half Marathon, 5K & Kids’ Run. It features live music, food and drink, a Kids Zone, Business Expo, Makers’ and Artisans’ Row, and more. 

Taylor, an eighth grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, has loved art as long as she can remember. Her mom, Jennifer, said Taylor started drawing as a toddler. One of her pre-school teachers drew pictures for her every day.

“I loved it so much,” Taylor said.

Today, one of her favorite things to draw is dragons.

Jennifer registered Taylor for her first Summer Art Camp five years ago, and she has attended every summer since. She has participated in Spring Break Art Camp for three years.

The variety of art classes available keeps the young artist coming back.

“I like that it exposes you to different types of art, and I really like the teachers,” Taylor said. “It really encourages kids to get involved in art around your community.”

One of Taylor’s Summer Art Camp instructors encouraged her to participate in Art Crawl in 2015. She sold several pieces of her work, including ocean life paintings on wood and prismacolor marker drawings. She credited her instructor with always offering his honest opinion, and pushing her to do more.

Jennifer credits the Museum staff with helping Taylor build her confidence. The sense of family and community has helped her grow as an artist, she said.

“I am so incredibly grateful for all the amazing opportunities she has had through the Museum and city,” Jennifer said. “It is so great for Taylor to be part of the local arts community.”

Would you like to get your children involved in our Spring Break Art Camp and Summer Art Camp in 2017? Click here for more information.